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Florida Land Steward Update, May 29, 2020

Hurricane Michael impacts to timber stands in Florida

PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY FOR HURRICANE SEASON

Hurricane season is here, starting June 1 and continuing through November 30. As we have learned in recent years, powerful hurricanes can make their way inland and do considerable damage to forest and agricultural lands and enterprises. There is no way to fully prepare for major devastation in advance, but there are some strategies and steps you can take to prepare yourself and your land for a major storm and recover more smoothly. See the tips in the Spring-Summer issue of the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter.

EMERGENCY FOREST RESTORATION PROGRAM DEADLINE FOR HURRICANE MICHAEL EXTENDED THROUGH OCTOBER 30, 2020

The USDA Florida Farm Service Agency State Committee has authorized an additional six-month extension to the April 30, 2020, Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) and Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) late filing period. This allows producers impacted by Hurricane Michael to apply for assistance under EFRP and/or ECP and be considered timely if application is made by the new deadline of October 30, 2020. Contact your local FSA office to set up an appointment. Find your local FSA office here.

State Block Grant Negotiations are Ongoing

Negotiations on the details of the federally authorized State Block Grant Program for Hurricane Michael timber losses are ongoing between the United States Department of Agriculture and the Florida Division of Emergency Management and Florida Forest Service. We will share the program details as soon as they are finalized. Florida Land Steward partners are planning a forest recovery webinar series when this assistance is available.

SIGNUP FOR CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM BY JUNE 1, 2020

The application deadline for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is June 1, 2020. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques. While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline to ensure their applications are considered for 2020 funding. For additional information about CSP, contact your local USDA service center.

Florida Panther CSP

Ranchers in Southwest Florida are encouraged to apply for CSP so they can be paid to help the Florida panther. Apply by June 15, 2020. Contact District Conservationist Mitchell Aman at 863-674-5700 for more information.

CONSERVATION ASSISTANCE FOR FLORIDA FARMERS AND RANCHERS IN 11 WEST FLORIDA COUNTIES

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from agricultural producers until June 15, 2020 for a Regional Conservation Partnership Program project that improves climate resiliency. NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to eligible farmers and landowners toward conservation practices that improve natural resources in 11 Florida counties through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Producers in the following counties are encouraged to apply: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla, and Washington. The Climate Resiliency for Alabama, Florida and Georgia project in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint and Ochlockonee River Basins is led by the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District. The project area covers more than 15 million acres in eastern Alabama, western Georgia, and the Florida panhandle. For more information contact your local USDA service center

CONSERVATION ASSISTANCE FOR FOREST IMPROVEMENTS

Agricultural producers in Florida can apply for financial assistance until June 15 for a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project to improve forested lands from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers and landowners for conservation practices that improve forest ecosystems through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). For more information contact your local USDA service center. Contact Chakesha Harvey, 352-338-3425

STATE ACRES FOR WILDLIFE ENHANCEMNT (SAFE) INITIATIVE THROUGH USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY’S CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM (CRP)

State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement allows producers to install practices that benefit high priority State wildlife conservation objectives by using targeted restoration of vital habitat. This  effort is based on locally developed conservation proposals that address highest priority wildlife objectives. SAFE proposals may be developed and put forth by a Federal, State, or local agency, or by a private organization. Ideally, all partners will develop proposals under a cooperative and collaborative agreement. For more details see this USDA fact sheet about the SAFE initiative. Submit proposals by June 19, 2020. Please direct questions to Amy Roller, Agriculture Program Specialist, Farm Service Agency, amy.roller@usda.gov, 352-379-4520.

TAX TIPS FOR FOREST LANDOWNERS FOR THE 2019 TAX YEAR

The extended tax filing deadline is July 15 . The Federal income tax laws contain forestry-specific provisions that are important for those managing and conserving timber. This publication provides forest owners, foresters, loggers, and timber businesses a guide to the applicable Federal income tax laws, including the latest tax law changes, for filing 2019 tax returns. The information is not intended to render legal or accounting advice and is current as of September 30, 2019. Access the 2019 timber tax tips and more related information at https://www.timbertax.org/

HAVE AN EVENT OR RELATED NEWS TO SHARE?

Drop a line to Chris Demers, cdemers@ufl.edu

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